This essay looks at the history of Santa Cruz Island and preservation and conservation efforts there through the work of the National Park Service, the Nature Conservancy, and the University of California Natural Reserve System. Alagona argues that these efforts are sometimes counterproductive because they rely on incomplete or outmoded understanding of the island’s human and ecological history. A better understanding of how history, culture, and nature shaped each other would lead to more complete conversation and better land management decisions.

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